Canine Parvo Virus

In the recent months I have seen an increase in the Canine Parvo Virus here in Granada Hills, Ca. Granada Hills is a suburb of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley.

Parvo is a virus that attacks the gastrointestinal system in canines. There is not a Parvo vaccine that protects dogs 100% against the virus. It is common in dogs under three years of age to contract this virus whether they are vaccinated or not.

The virus is passed through feces of the animal. It does not matter if the infected feces is dry or wet. The feces can be several weeks old and still carry the virus. A microscopic amount of the feces can be carried on hands, shoes or any object and infect any un-suspecting canine.

Symptoms of Parvo virus include vomiting, listlessness and bloody diarrhea. Parvo is a very deadly disease. With treatment 80% of dogs that contract Parvo will live. Without treatment 70% of dogs that contract the disease will die. There is a strain of Parvo that attacks the brain and the heart muscle. If a canine contracts that strain of Parvo they will die no matter what the treatment. There are a few different tests on the market for Parvo but none test to see which strain of Parvo they have.

Most dogs that contract the Parvo Virus do not die of the Virus but die of dehydration. The Virus causes so much vomiting and diarrhea the animal dehydrates and dies.

Treatment for Parvo averages three to five days. Treatment includes intravenous fluids, Antibiotics, Anti-vomiting medication, Anti-diarrhea medication, Potassium Chloride supplements and Vitamin supplements. Many dogs will get worse before they get better during the treatment.

Every time the dog vomits, the dog dehydrates a little more. So you do not want to do any thing to aggravate the stomach and worsen the pet’s condition. During the treatment all medication will be give by injection. The dog is to get no medication, food or water by mouth. Anything given by mouth could upset the stomach and encourage vomiting.

After the vomiting and diarrhea has stopped the veterinarian will try the patient on a small amount of water and see if he vomits. If he does not they will increase the amount. If he still does not vomit they will try the patient on a small amount of a bland food. If the patient does not vomit the food they will increase the amount. Once the patient is eating and drinking without vomiting or diarrhea and the energy level is normal the hospital will typically send the patient home.

In the few cases where the canine has contracted the strain of Parvo that attacks the brain and heart muscle. It is not uncommon for the canine to appear to be recovering and then die unexpectedly. The canine strain of Parvo is only contagious to dogs; it is not contagious to humans or other species. There is a human strain of Parvo but it is un-related to the canine strain.

Bleach kills the Parvo virus. If you suspect that your home, clothing or any other item has been in contact with the Parvo virus you should wash it thoroughly with bleach.

Prevention is the best defense against Parvo. Make sure your canines get all of their vaccinations. Parvo vaccinations are given at six weeks of age, nine weeks of age, 12 weeks of age, 15 weeks of age, and then once a year for the rest of their life. With dogs less than three years of age avoid dogs you are not familiar with.

I hope you found this information helpful.